Five Basic Life Coaching Skills Every Life Coach Must Have

What are the basic life coaching skills you must have as a life coach in order to be successful? I will mention at least five of them I consider the most essential. They are active listening skills, asking powerful questions, goal setting, actions and accountability. 

The Profession of Life Coaching

What is life coaching?  The International Coaching Federation, the gold standard of coaching, has defined professional life coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The method of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity, and leadership.

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The life coaching profession is rapidly growing and becoming more competitive than ever. The need for life coaches is ever increasing in all facets of our society. You have people from all social classes utilizing the services of a life coach, from the ordinary person working 9 to 5 to celebrities making thousands of dollars  in a day or  week.  Hence the importance of a life coach having the right skills and tools to be successful in a competitive and flourishing market place. 

What Are Basic Life Coaching Skills? 

Basic life coaching skills are the fundamental skills needed to be an effective and successful life coach. These skills or abilities help the coach support their clients in fulfilling desired professional and personal goals. Several coaching skills play a significant role in the coaching relationship and process; some produce almost immediately, a better outcome for clients.  What are the five basic coaching skills every life coach must have? They are:

  1. Active Listening: They say the most critical skill to have in coaching if you want to be an effective coach is the ability to listen to others. Let’s be honest; many of us are not fully listening to what others are saying most of the time. Active listening means being totally and completely present with your clients and what they are saying (i.e paying attention to both verbal & nonverbal cues).  It’s about developing the ability to keep your mind focused on the client and their issues and not allow yourself to get easily distracted by your own thoughts or other things. 
  1. Asking Powerful Questions: To be an effective life coach, you must ask the right questions. Ask relevant, pondering questions that will get your clients thinking deeply about their situation. Questions asked must be open-ended, nonjudgmental, not complex; should be concise and straight to the point.  
  1. Goal Setting: The ability to set goals and act on them is particularly important to the success of the coaching relationship.  Being able to set goals is a significant contribution to the success of the client. It helps both you and your client identify what it is, what the client desires to achieve.  Once the goal has been established, you both begin to work towards it, taking the necessary steps to move forward towards realizing the goal.
  1. Designing Actions: Life coaches must find ways to facilitate ongoing learning for coaching clients through opportunities that present themselves. Coaches should engage clients to explore alternative ideas and solutions, evaluate options, and make related decisions.
  1. Accountability: This may be the most vital aspect of what life coaching provides and what is needed to ensure a successful coaching experience for everyone involved. Accountability drives accomplishments; it acknowledges all efforts and progress made by the client, and the coach can effectively support and encourage clients. 

Having listed these basic life coaching skills above, one thing that is important to keep in mind is this,

Periodically over the course of one’s coaching career, it is necessary to perform a thorough self-assessment of one’s basic coaching skills. Why? Doing so helps you as a coach identify any weaknesses and improve on them. Knowing where you are today and enhancing your coaching skills can develop an effective coaching process and coaching relationship. 

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Margaret K. Olubiyi
Life Coach
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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